Oct 20, 2020

Ebona near-perfect in Aces' shellacking of Elite

ALASKA knew Blackwater has this tendency to come out with another huge third quarter explosion.

So the Aces poured it on early, using a blistering start and a sustained drive on both ends as boosts to a 120-82 victory over the Elite Tuesday for their second straight win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City.

Kevin Barkley Ebona scored a career-high 24 points on a near-perfect 10-of-11 field shooting, a performance made more noteworthy by the fact the victory was the most lopsided thus far in the league bubble in Pampanga.

Robert Herndon and Vic Manuel both came off the bench for 21 and 16 points, respectively, helping Alaska realize its continued rise from a 0-2 start and into a tie at 2-2 with its victim, Meralco and defending champion San Miguel Beer.

The 38-point beatdown equaled the worst defeat in Blackwater's franchise history, tying a 89-127 loss to TNT in last year's edition of the same tournament and an 85-123 shellacking from Rain or Shine in the 2015 Governors' Cup.

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Its usual dreaded third quarter assault never materialized for Blackwater as Alaska stood its ground defensively, resulting in the most one-sided win for the Aces since a 101-63 rout of Kia in the 2015 Governors' Cup.

"We knew coming into this game that the third quarter has been big for them. They have young legs, they have the capabilities of putting up more than 30 points (in the third)," said Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso.

"That needs to be respected kasi hindi siya accident. They force turnovers that lead to easy baskets so we were just trying to stay disciplined sa gameplan namin and I'm happy that they did."

Indeed, Alaska harassed Blackwater into a miserable 4-of-18 field shooting and five turnovers while making 14 of their own 25 field goal attempts in the penultimate canto.

Blackwater did stir into life, but in the second quarter, using a 12-2 run to whittle a 28-56 deficit to just 18 points at the half.

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But Ebona and Mike Digregorio alternately strung up points to stretch the lead back up to 77-47, a difference that got jacked up to a high of 114-73.

With the game practically secured, Cariaso even fielded in late arrival Maverick Ahanmisi and regular third-string center Yutien Andrada to start the fourth quarter. (NC)

The scores:

Alaska 120 - Ebona 24, Herndon 21, Manuel 16, Tratter 14, Digregorio 12,Teng 11, Casio 7, Galliguez 3, Ahanmisi 2, Marcelino 2, Ayaay 2, Publico 2, Andrada 2, Brondial 2.

Blackwater 82 - Daquioag 18, Tolomia 10, Canaleta 9, Salem 9, Trollano 6, Dennison 6, Gabriel 6, Belo 5, Desiderio 5, Dario 3, Sumang 2, Golla 2, Escoto 1, Shaw 0.

Quarters:38-17, 58-40, 90-61, 120-82.